Wednesday: Hili dialogue

Good morning, and let’s see if we can get things right today. It’s Wednesday, January 17, 2018, and warming up in Chicago (we may get up to the freezing point today).  It’s National Hot Buttered Rum Day, but I have a lovely Cornas waiting for me at home tonight, so screw the rum.

On this day in 395 AD, after Emperor Theodosiu I died, the Roman Empire was divided into the Eastern Roman Empire under Arcadius and the Western Roman Empire under Honorius. On January 17, 1773, Captain James Cook, on his Second Voyage, commanded his ship Resolution to cross the Antarctic Circle. It was the first ship ever to do that, and did it twice more on that voyage. On this day in 1912, Captain Robert Falcon Scott made it to the South Pole, only to find that Roald Amundsen had gotten there one month before.  As we know, Scott and several of his men died on the trek back.  On January 17 1929, Edward Segar’s “Popeye the Sailor Man” first appeared in the “Thimble Theater” comic strip: here’s that first appearance (sans spinach!):

On January 17 of 1945, the SS began evacuating the Auschwitz concentration camp as Russian soldiers approached. On that the same day, Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg was taken into Soviet custody by SMERSH. Credited with saving thousands of Jews during WWII, Wallenberg was arrested on suspicion of espionage, and was never seen again. His fate is mysterious, and it’s not clear whether, as the Soviets claimed, he died in custody, or whether he had been executed.  On this day in 1946, the UN Security Council met for the first time. In 1977, with the execution by firing squad of Gary Gilmore, the U.S. resumed capital punishment after a ten-year hiatus. On this day in 1991, Operation Desert Storm of the Gulf War began; it lasted until February 28.  Finally, on January 17, 1998, The Drudge Report broke the story of the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky affair.

Notables born on this day include Benjamin Franklin (1706), Anne Brontë (1820), biologist August Weissmann (1834), David Lloyd George (1863), Al Capone (1899), Betty White (1922; she’s alive and 96 today), Eartha Kitt (1927), Shari Lewis (1933), Susanna Hoffs (1959), and Michelle Obama (1964).

Hoffs was the Jewish Dream Girl of the last generation, now replaced by Sarah Silverman. Here she is solo and acoustic, singing my favorite of her songs, written with Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg (older live version here).

Those who expired on this day include English botanist John Ray (1705), biologist/polymath Francis Galton (1911), mountaineer Dougal Haston (1977, killed at 37 in an avalanche), Gary Gilmore (1977; see above), Art Buchwald (2007), and Bobby Fischer (2008).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili still hasn’t found The Door Into Summer:

Hili: It’s snowing.
A: I can see that.
Hili: Do something about it.

She’s all fluffed up!

In Polish:
Hili: Pada śnieg
Ja: Widzę.
Hili: Zrób coś z tym.

From Matthew (and the new BBC One show Big Cats, here’s the world’s deadliest cat: the adorable Felis nigripes!

This guy has a gazillion copies of the Beatles’s White Album; be sure to hear the encroaching cacophany here.

A kitten befriends a photographer:

And one more from Matthew: why would a Norwegian want to move to the U.S.?

From Grania: It looks as if a woman ate the ashes of a cremated horse:


  1. Doug
    Posted January 17, 2018 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    Bjorn & Siggy forgot one thing: the US is EXCEPTIONAL.

  2. busterggi
    Posted January 17, 2018 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    60% of all photographers are eaten by cats.

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted January 17, 2018 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    The couple in Norway forgot one anti in their list. Anti government – as we soon find out, just elect republicans and they will show you how bad govt. can be.

  4. mrclaw69
    Posted January 17, 2018 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    That’s what I call (b)eating a dead horse….

    • Posted January 17, 2018 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      Neigh, I say! The Equine could still be twitching a little.

  5. Ken Kukec
    Posted January 17, 2018 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    In 1977, with the execution by firing squad of Gary Gilmore, the U.S. resumed capital punishment after a ten-year hiatus …

    Gilmore’s execution, and the murders for which he was executed, were the subject of Norman Mailer’s great (albeit least Mailer-like) book, the non-fiction novel The Executioner’s Song.

    Gilmore’s execution was essentially a state-assisted suicide, in that, after conviction, Gilmore requested imposition of the death penalty and waived all appellate and other post-conviction relief. Utah law at the time allowed the condemned to choose the means of execution, and Gilmore opted for a firing squad.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted January 17, 2018 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      Another strange and sad thing in America, how we make movies and great books about some loser who murders two people. Yet the two people he murders hardly get a mention. Are those Pulitzer Prizes great or what?

    • Posted January 17, 2018 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      It was also the subject of a rather tasteless punk song, Gary Gilmore’s Eyes by The Adverts, in which someone gets an eye transplant and discovers – the horror – that they are “looking through Gary Gilmore’s Eyes”. For the curious, or the amnesiac, here’s the song:

      – MC

  6. rickflick
    Posted January 17, 2018 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    The Norwegian couple has this USian reexamining where to retire. I suspect, though, Norway probably is reluctant to take the risk of accepting immigrants from shithole countries.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted January 17, 2018 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      Nice idea but I think they might actually want you to contribute before getting your pension. That is part of why we here in the U.S. get nothing – we don’t seem to want to put in for something as bazar as a good retirement. We like living on social security and a savings plan that never happens.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted January 17, 2018 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      Marry a Norwegian is the best approach! Would take years to get citizenship through normal non-asylum routes & you’d need to work during that time.

      If you have 3,000,000 Euro [3.6M USD] buy Republic of Cyprus citizenship [it’s in the E.U. with all the benefits of such] – that’s the southern half of the island of Cyprus, but avoid the Russians.

      If you have 650,000 Euro [795k USD] buy citizenship in Malta [also in the EU]. Lots of work in Malta, if your pension is short, in gambling industry back office jobs, as many businesses in that arena have their HQs there. Housing cheap or very, very expensive depending.

      Failing that try the Caribbean – great until you’re ill

      • rickflick
        Posted January 17, 2018 at 11:14 am | Permalink

        Sounds challenging. I guess I’ll opt for Caldwell, ID after all. Thanks.

  7. Michael Fisher
    Posted January 17, 2018 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Re the White Album collector.
    Does anyone know about vinyl record hi-fi?
    Avery Trufelman‏ tweets that:

    Rutherford Chang owns nearly 2000 copies of The Beatles’ The White Album. You can hear what 100 sound like playing at the same time – the grooves wear out at different rates, so it starts in unison and turns to cacophony

    I don’t see how that explanation for the 100 recordings [they’re digitally overlaid] going gradually out of sync can be true. If the platter is rotated 100 times say, the stylus will have moved 100 grooves of the spiral inwards no matter how straightened the grooves have become.

    Unless perhaps a worn track imposes more friction drag on the needle & that slows the platter fractionally or causes the vinyl to slip on the platter, but that shouldn’t happen with a quality heavy platter. Right?

    Perhaps Chang used more than one platter or the platter varies in speed due to electrical supply & other environmentals?

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted January 17, 2018 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      I’ve got an album called ‘Zaireeka’ by The Flaming Lips – it comes on four separate discs and it’s designed to be played on four separate CD players. The theory is that each time it’s played it will be slightly different, because of the human error involved in coordinating the start time of each CD player, and little quirks and irregularities will change the feel of the album each time you hear it.

      • BJ
        Posted January 17, 2018 at 9:18 am | Permalink

        That is the most absurdly pretentious thing I’ve ever heard of a rock band doing. No offense to you (but all offense to The Flaming Lips) 😛

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted January 17, 2018 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

          I like pretension. All my favourite bands are at least a little bit pretentious.

          As for the Flaming Lips, we’re talking about a band who released a six-hour-long song a while back, and then, presumably not satisfied with something so boringly short, they followed it up a year or so later with a twenty-four-hour-long song. And they were both much better and more interesting than that sounds too(although I’m not insane enough to have actually listened to either of them all the way through.).

          The Flaming Lips are definitely pretentious, but they’re pretentious in an unhinged, unpredictable, manic-depressive way, rather than in an awful, pompous, late-period-Pink Floydy way.

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted January 17, 2018 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

            Yes that’s what I mean by acid. AND you’re right about Pink Floyd late period [plus middle period as well]. My favourite pretentious band is Radiohead.

            • Saul Sorrell-Till
              Posted January 17, 2018 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

              Radiohead are a wonderful band. Although I’d call them un-self-consciously intellectual rather than demonstrably pretentious.

              Flaming Lips are a very acid-rock band. Lots of my favourite bands are pretty druggy; I guess I just like druggy music. One of my favourite bands were called Spacemen 3, and they released an album with the immortal title ‘Taking Drugs To make Music To Take Drugs To’.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted January 17, 2018 at 11:21 am | Permalink

        I have two radios on in the morning – Radio 4 played from my PC’s TV card in the living room & Radio 4 from my bedroom DAB radio. The DAB sound is delayed due to coding of the signal at the transmitter end & decoding on my DAB radio. Interesting echo effects.

        I looked up the 4-CD recording reviews on Amazon & the fans love it – using multiple rooms & delays. Fiddling about.

        It’s a pity four players are required – flaming lips could have built a raspberry Pi style dongle for a couple of quid to fit on the CD-player output to emulate 4 identical outputs in different [variable] syncs. Perhaps powerful enough to drive for pairs of speakers on different channels [much more expensive to do]. THAT would be fun on Acid! 🙂

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted January 17, 2018 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

          I’m slightly ashamed to say I’ve never got around to listening to Zaireeka – I always thought it called for a bit of ceremony and the time never seemed right. Plus it’s such a monumental faff.
          And as you rightly point out, it needs to be listened to while on acid or not at all. At least I think that’s what you were saying. 🙂

  8. Saul Sorrell-Till
    Posted January 17, 2018 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    ‘Eternal Flame’ is one of the loveliest songs of the eighties. I was completely bewitched by The Bangles as a kid.

    When you’re little you have no way of searching out the music you like – you don’t even really know what kind of music you like yet – so you listen to a lot of crap, and say you like a lot of crap because other kids are into it, but there are a few songs here and there that just privately blow your mind. And it’s weird, but most of them from my childhood were by female artists.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted January 17, 2018 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      I think it’s wonderful too.

  9. BJ
    Posted January 17, 2018 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    I’ve filed that last tweet under “Occam’s Razor Failures”

    The question is “what did I just eat? It tasted like coal and I thought it was chocolate. I found a picture of a horse.” The answer is “you ate a vase made of horse ashes. It was probably from Russia.” I don’t know of any heuristic that would lead to such a conclusion, but here we are.

  10. mordacious1
    Posted January 17, 2018 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    If I were the Donald, I ‘d reply that Norway has strict border control and gives financial incentives to those immigrants who did get in, to get out again.

  11. Posted January 17, 2018 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    August Friedrich Leopold Weismann is certainly a name surprisingly few seem to remember, though the synthetic theory of evolution owes a lot to the Weismann barrier.

    • Posted January 17, 2018 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

      I took special notice of him as a school kid, as my middle name happens to be Aukusti. My grandfather and his father both were called August.

%d bloggers like this: